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Jacques Lemaire turns around the Devils

Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:12 am

I used to follow hockey a lot more closely than I do now.

But I have to admit a soft spot for the Devils, since I drive by their home every day I go to work and I also admire Lou Lamoriello as one of the great GMs in sports.

All that said, I am absolutely amazed by the turnaround of the Devils under Jacques Lemaire.

For months, they appeared to be dead in the water, with their run as a perennial contender apparently at an end after more than a decade.

Now they're 14-1-2 in the last 17 games and making an improbable push for the playoffs.

And it's all since Lemaire came out of retirement (they were 9-22-2 under MacLean).

The most impressive thing to me about it is that the wins didn't happen instantly after Lemaire became coach.

If that had been the case, you would have said there was some interpersonal issue with John MacLean and the players.

For the first couple of weeks, the Devils looked just as bad under Lemaire as they had before.

Now, they look like a team whose hardest task may be making the playoffs. But if they do and they still have something left in the tank, no one will want to face them

Re: Jacques Lemaire turns around the Devils

Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:36 pm

Pains me to say this as a Rangers fans but credit to them for not packing it in for this season and making a great run. They are 10 points out right now.

Re: Jacques Lemaire turns around the Devils

Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:16 am

Updated to 18-2-2 in the last 22 games

Listening to the end of their game with Tampa Bay, the announcers were talking about Lemaire's effect on Kovalchuk.

Kovalchuk's rep has always been as a brilliant offensive player who only cared about that end of the ice.

Now, Kovalchuk is playing defense and using his defense to create more offensive opportunities, which fits into the Devils style of play.

Kovalchuk also telling anyone who will listen how much he likes playing for Lemaire.

One of the keys to being a successful coach is having a strong relationship with your superstar player and that holds true in every sport.

Re: Jacques Lemaire turns around the Devils

Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:22 am

Another reason I'm a Lemaire fan--

Back when Lemaire was on his first tour as Devils coach, I knew a sports writer who was assigned the Devils beat by a prominent NJ newspaper.

The writer didn't have that strong a background in hockey and he privately confided that to Lemaire.

Lemaire's response was to set up private sessions with the reporter where the coach would teach the reporter the fine points of hockey.

I'm not sure there are a lot of pro coaches who would be that generous with their time, especially considering the tense relationship that so often exists between coaches and the media.

Re: Jacques Lemaire turns around the Devils

Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:53 am

Selfishly, I really hope he comes back for another year. I'd love to see what this team could do over a full season with a healthy Zach Parise. The whole team is just playing so well together right now.

It's really amazing what they've been able to do with so many youngsters seeing ice time, from Palmieri on the top line to Fayne logging heavy minutes on defense to Zharkov, Josefson, and Tedenby rounding out the 3rd and 4th lines.

Unfortunately the climb is getting a bit tougher. They've only lost 1 game in the last week and a half and have only gained 1 point. I think they might have to catch the Rangers to make the playoffs (and hope only 1 of Carolina/Buffalo gets in).

Re: Jacques Lemaire turns around the Devils

Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:20 pm

Chico wrote:Another reason I'm a Lemaire fan--

Back when Lemaire was on his first tour as Devils coach, I knew a sports writer who was assigned the Devils beat by a prominent NJ newspaper.

The writer didn't have that strong a background in hockey and he privately confided that to Lemaire.

Lemaire's response was to set up private sessions with the reporter where the coach would teach the reporter the fine points of hockey.

I'm not sure there are a lot of pro coaches who would be that generous with their time, especially considering the tense relationship that so often exists between coaches and the media.


Rich Chere?

Re: Jacques Lemaire turns around the Devils

Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:49 pm

Go Devils Go!

Re: Jacques Lemaire turns around the Devils

Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:25 am

23-3-2 in the last 28 games

Re: Jacques Lemaire turns around the Devils

Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:56 am

It was a great run, but the Devils are out of gas and almost out of time. They've lost 3 of the last 4.

They're 9 pts out of the playoffs with 9 games left. Almost at the point where they could run the table and still come up short.

Re: Jacques Lemaire turns around the Devils

Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:48 am

The Devils were mathematically eliminated from the playoff race last night.

With the Rangers barely holding on, it's possible that a region with three teams could be without playoff hockey.
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